What a Dick

Apparently Dick Durbin doesn’t think much about the Holocaust, the genocide of the Khmer Rouge and Josef Stalin and its victims. Calling the detention center at Guantanamo Bay a death camp is just stupid.

The Senate’s No. 2 Democrat has compared the U.S. military’s treatment of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay with the regimes of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot, three of history’s most heinous dictators, whose regimes killed millions.

In a speech on the Senate floor late Tuesday, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, castigated the American military’s actions by reading an e-mail from an FBI agent.

….

After reading the e-mail, Mr. Durbin said, “If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.”

You know it must be nice to make these allegations and then not provide any evidence whatsoever. I’m sure Senator Durbin will claim some sort of national security concerns prevents him from releasing the paticulars, and it sure is convenient. So far the only thing I’ve seen is,

The agent complained to higher-ups that one al Qaeda suspect was chained to the floor, kept in an extremely cold air-conditioned cell and forced to hear loud rap music.

The cold air sounds like the last place my cubicle was located. I was very cold. I also have to listen to loud and annoying rap music while stuck in traffic. Invariably there is some nitwit who has decided to share his dubious taste in music with everybody around him and so turned his trunk into a gignormous speaker. I guess I live in Pol Pot’s Cambodia.

Further, these kinds of irresponsible statements don’t help the issue of maltreatment of prisoners. It makes it seem like a joke or that the people making the claims just aren’t serious about the issue. Instead of actually addressing maltreatment of prisoners people like Senator Durbin seem more intent on the negative impact it will have on Bush, screw the prionsers.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, National Security, Terrorism, US Politics
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. Fersboo says:

    To use the best line from the 1st XXX (Vin Diesel, get yer mind out of the gutter) movie:

    Don’t be a Dick, Dick!

  2. Susie says:

    This is no surprise after reading his college thesis on the survivabilty of communism.

    He twist and molds his own product in to a glamorous shap.

  3. Ugh says:

    Durbin was quoting from an FBI agent who had reported what he witnessed at Gitmo. The WTimes leaves out the other things Durbin quoted from the FBI agent’s report:

    detainee[s] chained hand and foot in a fetal position on the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more….The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

    Who would you think was involved in doing such a thing if you had not been told it was the United States Military?

    And even if it was “extremely cold air” and “loud rap music,” presumably you were free to leave your cubicle or pull out of traffic if you could not longer bear it, what choice does the detainee have?

  4. paladin says:

    Dick Durbin is my Senator, and I can only conclude that he is in competition with Charles Rangel to see who can make the most outrageous comments, and still get re-elected. BTW, in the Blue State of Illinois, Democrats control all branches of government, so Durbin isn’t risking much.

  5. LJD says:

    I didn’t know Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot had any air conditioners, or for that matter, rap music.

    Ugh: If these guys shit themselves, or rip their hair out, are we obligated to stop them? Is this a prison camp or a day care? A nursing home?

    The compassion for these terrorist a-holes never ceases to amaze me, epsecially when there is so little for fellow Americans of differing views. WTF.

  6. Anderson says:

    Can no one (except Ugh) actually read?

    Durbin’s words were quite carefully chosen, and quite on point—unless Steve and the rest of you are happy thinking that this is the sort of thing that should happen to persons in American custody.

    Which, as this blog has shown, is exactly how Steve et al. feel. God help the United States of America.

    For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God’s sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

    A favorite passage of Ronald Reagan’s, apparently one of the last Republican politicians to know the difference between “right” and “wrong.”

  7. Ugh says:

    Ugh: If these guys shit themselves, or rip their hair out, are we obligated to stop them? Is this a prison camp or a day care? A nursing home?

    Yes, these guys are doing it for s– and giggles, being chained in a fetal position in the freezing cold (or blazing heat) for 18-24 hours (or longer) without food or water while blaring loud music has nothing to do with it.

    The compassion for these terrorist a-holes never ceases to amaze me

    How do you know they are terrorist a-holes? Because the Pentagon says so? Bush? I hope they never say the same about you.

    epsecially when there is so little for fellow Americans of differing views

    The differing view being that this treatment is ok?

  8. legion says:

    Are there terrorists among the population currently being held at Gitmo? Certainly. People captured while fighting with the Taliban or the Iraqi insurgency are terrorists and must be dealt with appropriately.

    Are there innocent people being held at Gitmo? Also a yes. With the huge groups of people in custody (many thousands, as the US publicly admits), it’s just not believable that every single prisoner we hold is guilty.

    The question is: what are you willing to do to separate group ‘a’ from group ‘b’?

    While pondering that question, remember that these same methods will be used by some other country on captured Americans at some future date. Guarranteed. If that’s difficult to picture, try to remember back to Vietnam and how our POWs were treated.

    Or, if that’s before your time, just remember how you felt when you saw the Somalis drag that soldier’s body around town after his helicopter went down.

    Then imagine all the millions of people in the Middle East feeling the exact same way whenever another revelation comes out about Gitmo or Abu Ghraib.

    Then think about how long it’ll be untill there’s peace.

    Then pour yourself a good, stiff drink. Maybe several.

  9. ICallMasICM says:

    ‘The differing view being that this treatment is ok?’

    No one is saying it’s OK. However if this really were the gulag or Auschwitz or Cambodia the end for the detainees would already be known. No air conditioning is a long way from a gas shower. Not having access to a bathroom for 18 hours isn’t the same as being frozen or worked to death or indiscriminantly shot. Remember for a fact there have been 0, remember 0, nunca, nil, deaths at Guantanamo. How exactly does that compare to 6 to 20 million deaths at the hands of the Nazis or Soviets? One of the incidents of Koran ‘desecration’ was having it placed on a TV. How do you think the viewing was in Cambodia? Before you got your head whacked off with a 5 iron? Actually though I’m glad to see Durbin and the other handwringers exposing themselves as the fools that they are.

  10. Fersboo says:

    What a bunch of lame-os. If you think the treatment at Gitmo is that bad, don’t go to prison, don’t join a frat, don’t visit Cuba and spout off about Human Rights, don’t visit China, don’t visit Tibet, nor North Korea, etc……

    You all are extremely lucky, cause if I had my way, I would have most of you all tracked down and break every bone in both of your hands.

  11. Anderson says:

    Durbin didn’t compare our behavior to Auschwitz. You’re making that up.

    He compared it to Nazi tactics. Long before the world at large knew of the death camps, Nazis were known for their brutal secret police. I’m sorry your historical education is defective, but that is not Dick Durbin’s fault.

  12. Ugh says:

    Actually though I’m glad to see Durbin and the other handwringers exposing themselves as the fools that they are.

    Durbin wasn’t saying that Gitmo is a death camp, he was saying that if he had described to you the treatment given to the accused persons (let’s not forget that these people are merely accused by the U.S. gov’t), who would you think was subjecting such persons to such treatment? Unfortunately, today a plausible answer would be “The United States of America.”

    In any event, which is worse, what the U.S. has done (is doing?) to the prisoners at Gitmo, or that Durbin made a comment that some people find objectionable?

  13. Steve Verdon says:

    I’m sorry, being chained in the fetal position is just like being gassed, indiscriminantly shot, worked to death, starved to death, or any of the other horrible ways that millions were killed exactly how?

    Sure maltreatment of prisoners is serious. Yes, we should look into it, and stop it when found. I have not indicated otherwise. But to

    1. Trivialize the horrors that occured in Nazi German, the Soviet Union, and under Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge is rather disgusting,

    and

    2. To go for the cheap shot against a president one disagrees with instead of being sober and serious about this indicates the idea of prisoner abuse is not the real issue for a guy like Durbin,

    is rather disgusting.

    If you agree with Drubin I suggest you re-read 1 & 2 above and see if perhaps you are being…well foolish.

    And even if it was “extremely cold air” and “loud rap music,” presumably you were free to leave your cubicle or pull out of traffic if you could not longer bear it, what choice does the detainee have?

    Ugh, do you keep your head up your nether region for the warmth or what? The obvious answer is I don’t live in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and hence my comments were not serious (you know sarcastic). Should prisoners be treated badly? No. Are these unpleasant practices that should probably be stopped? Probably. Is Gitmo a deat camp? Only if you are a blinkered moron named Dick Durbin.

  14. Anderson says:

    Fersboo sounds like just the person that our New Order needs.

    Really, people, do you ever listen to yourselves? Because it’s sadly funny that a thread begun by calling Durbin a dick, has shown off so many people as contemptible jerks who would be perfectly happy living under totalitarianism, so long as they weren’t the ones in the hands of the secret police. People like you made Hitler possible back in 1933.

  15. Hal says:

    So I guess all the comparisons of Osama to Stalin and Hitler as well as all the endless series of other WWII analogies we heard – non stop – are equally invalid?

    I mean, geez louis. Either everyone gets to make over the top analogies to make a point, or no body does. I’m truly getting sick and tired of y’all on the right getting all lawyerly and start parsing semantics right after the biggest whoppers of all just literally spewed from your own mouths.

    Man.

  16. Ugh says:

    What a bunch of lame-os. If you think the treatment at Gitmo is that bad, don’t go to prison, don’t join a frat, don’t visit Cuba and spout off about Human Rights, don’t visit China, don’t visit Tibet, nor North Korea, etc……

    Because, again, that makes the current treatment OK. I admire that argument, “Hey, at least we’re not as bad as Cuba, China and North Korea.” The administration’s defenders: setting high standards.

    And let’s not forgate that it is highly likely that a large number of the prisoners haven’t done anything to merit being imprisoned in the first place.

  17. Bithead says:

    Should we mention the information we were able to get did manage to save the lives of a lot of people?

  18. Scott in CA says:

    OK, I’ll just come out and say it clearly: I DONT GIVE A DAMN WHAT THEY DO TO THESE ANIMALS. THEY ARE TRYING TO KILL US AND DESTROY OUR CIVILIZATION. IS THAT CLEAR ENOUGH NOW?

  19. Fersboo says:

    Doesn’t matter one bit with this crowd today Bithead, cause as Ugh said, none of the prisoners at Gitmo are even suppossed to be there. You know, innocent until proven quilty kind of thing.

    Tell you what Ugh and company, why don’t ya’ll head down to Gitmo and do a little protesting, you know, get off your ass and make the world a better place.

    There ain’t nothing ‘alleged’ in a warzone btw. We don’t cuff them as we read them their rights for two reasons, one, they are shooting at us and two, they got no rights (everyone say it together, they got no rights, cause they ain’t citizens).

  20. Ugh says:

    The obvious answer is I don’t live in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and hence my comments were not serious (you know sarcastic).

    The post reads to me as follows:

    1. Durbin says Gitmo is a death camp;
    2. He has no evidence of mistreatment;
    3. Except for what I quote next;
    4. Which isn’t so bad anyway.

    1, 2, and 4 are wrong. Sorry if I missed your sarcasm.

    Should prisoners be treated badly? No. Are these unpleasant practices that should probably be stopped? Probably.

    So, you’re saying that being chained to the floor in a fetal position without food or water for 18-24 hours while being subjected to excessive heat or cold and loud music it not “bad treatment”?

  21. Ugh says:

    Fersboo says:

    (everyone say it together, they got no rights, cause they ain’t citizens)

    You obviously haven’t read the Constitution, try it some time.

  22. Anderson says:

    Ah, suspects in our custody are “animals.” Like the Jews, in Nazi ideology.

    The pattern is always the same, isn’t it?

  23. Jim says:

    Ugh,

    You’re kidding, right? If not, please tell me which part of the US Constitution applies to those who are not US citizens and are in fact classified as enemy combatants. I think what Durbin described as such awful conduct is so far removed from the attrocities he uses to compare it too that you can’t even use the argument that he was just being over the top. At the least he should be censured, then if he doesn’t do the honorable thing and resign his seat the people of Ill should address that at their next opportunity.

  24. Ron says:

    Perspective seems sadly lacking on the left. Maybe we should move them out of Gitmo and into a nice house in Berkeley. Let the lefties sort out which are terrorists and which are innocent people that just happened to be doing something that the Army felt the need to lock them up for.

    After all, we surely can’t trust the US Government to do that job.

  25. Anderson says:

    After all, we surely can’t trust the US Government to do that job.

    That’s the President’s position, not that of the “lefties,” who would like very much for the government to decide who’s really a terrorist, who’s not, etc.

    Instead, the president says we can hold these people until they rot without ever extending due process to them.

  26. Ron says:

    Well, Anderson, apparently the US Government has decided they all need held, illegal combatants and all that. So, I guess we’re back to my Berkeley plan, no?

  27. Meezer says:

    Us: turn up the air conditioning extra high

    Hitler: throw Jews into cold water to see how long it takes someone to die of hypothermia. Might be some variation between individuals so repeat until you get lots of data.

  28. markus says:

    Billmon makes the interesting point, that the practices used at Gitmo are in fact close to what happened to prisoners in “El Salvador, Honduras and Argentina thirty years ago — or South Vietnam, forty years ago.”
    FWIW, I also agree with him that comparisons to the Nazis, the gulag or Pol Pot are nonsense. IMHO because you have to parse the comparison so finely (the issues considered being so different) that the original point gets lost.
    And that it’s saddening to see that the outrage over the comparison seems to stronger than the outrage over the atrocities in question in some parts.

  29. LJD says:

    A total lack of perspective on the left, yes.

    Perhaps we would not be in this position had the soldiers who captured these “detainees” simply shot them on the battlefield. Of course, we would also have zero intelligence to capture their buddies with.

    The question here is: what is torture? Being made uncomfortable, made to stay awake, led to believe things that are untrue? All acceptable interrogation techniques. As was clearly stated before, much worse occurs in fraternities and U.S. prisons; FAR worse in foreign prisons (ironically those who criticize us). I’m o.k. with all of this. What SHOULD we do, bake them a falafel cake and sing cumbayah until they befriend us and confess their ways?

    The lack of perspective on the left is based often based in the projection of ONE comment by ONE individual (likely BY a “detainee” or politically motivated democratic traitor) onto official U.S. policy. You automatically assume that this guy was chained to the floor and shitting on himself as some sort of interrogation technique. What was the prisoner’s behavior that led to this? Did he pose a danger to himself and those around him? Did he flush his Koran in protest, only to incapacitate his “facility”? You don’t know. Did he rip his own hair out, or did we rip it out of him? You don’t know shit. You have half a story. You err on the side of the terrorist, and endanger our trooops everywhere by emboldening the enemy. You are showing them that we don’t have what it takes to survive.

    It’s time to stop the Hitler references because they’re extremely lame. WTF do you know about WWII? WTF do you know about serving in the military NOW? I thought so- nothing.

    Some burned out hippies love to invoke the VietNam comparison too. We F’ed up VietNam exactly because of this peace and love bullshit going on at home. We are showing the world, repeatedly, that all they have to do is spill some American blood and we’ll pull out. That endangers our troops in Iraq, and everywhere.

    The only plausible alternative for U.S. foreign policy is to help no one, in no other country. Then don’t come crying about “atrocities” and “ethnic cleansing”, because we’re off-duty. All the left cares about is their rich lives in America- smoking some shit and talking trash about the evil Empire. Give me a break.

  30. herb says:

    Durbin is so out of line with his tratorous remarks that it would not suprise me if he were on the AlQuida payroll. Let’s face it, Durbin is just a sore losing asshole that is high up on the extreme left wing Daley political machine. If it were not for the Cook County voting fraud in every election, Durbin would be just another lefty wannabe.

    I truely think that the Justice Department should consider Treason Charges against Durbin.

  31. markus says:

    who LJD is this “left” of which you speak?
    There are individuals here who’ve voiced their opinions. Why not engage them, inquire their positions and debate them?
    Concerning what the issue at hand, I agree some things were merely the usual interogation techniques. I don’t doubt you agree some of the stuff on the photos from Abu Gharib is way beyond that.
    Fraternities can be left freely, so that is another matter. As to prisons, I agree we should be doing something about violence and rape in there as well. That prisoners have been found guilty separates them from the inmates of the various detention facilities, but of course doesn’t justify the mistreatment that occurs.
    As to erring on the side of the terrorist, for one the people at the various facilities are not all terrorists. We don’t know the actual rate, but going from the deconstruction of Bush’s 400 terrorist related cases, IIRC 10% resulted in convictions for terrorist activities. Around 40% (180 people) were found to have no connection to terrorism.
    Much more importantly though, we no longer “err”. (;-)) We know how both highly suspect people and innocents have been treated. We’ve seen the photos and read the reports. Sadly, it is IMO no longer justified to start from the assumption that the detainee is responsible. In fact, those of us critisising this harshly, want to get back to that point. Once the facilities have been thoroughly investigated, bad apples removed and proper and firm guidelines have been issued from above, we can again return to assuming the detainee is to blame. That’d be great, and I have no doubt that Dick Durbin wants just that.

    Finally, could you explain how the only alternative to atrocities committed in the name of the US is “helping no one”. I mean, to me that sounds like the only way to stop adultery is by staying at home, and I have a hard time understanding the underlying argument, for on the face of it, it does not make any sense to me.

  32. LJD says:

    First, I feel no need to “engage” any one who accuses, as a matter of policy, the integrity of our men and women in uniform. It’s sensationalist, liberal, B.S., generated by their dissatisfaction with losing the Presidency, losing congress, and their hysterical view of the U.S. role in the world.

    Somehow, we always end up back at Abu Ghraib, where the perpetrators have been punished, where we have found untrained and unsupervised troops were given authority over prisoners. It’s water under the bridge. Get over it. (Not to mention, even this one, terrible and highly visible event in no way even approached the brutality of the Russians, Nazis, or Saddam Hussein).

    Second, these are not “atrocities”. These are isolated incidents where the perpetrators have, in public view, been punished by the military, as they should have been. These acts in no way represent policy, or the way our troops are trained to behave. As a member of the Armed Forces, I get extremely pissed at any allegation that they might be, especially by those who only experience with the military has been dodging the recruiter at their high school.

    Finally, while many of these individuals may not be “terrorists” per se, they ARE there for a reason. They took arms up against the U.S. (or conspired to do so) and were captured. As such, they are not entitled to a trial. They were entitled to be killed on the spot. They are still drawing breath because of our desire to acquire valuable information to prevent further acts of terror.

    It’s time for every one in this country to make up their mind what ideas they support. This rabid criticism, while directed at the President, very adversely affects our status in the world, and even more importantly, our success in the War on Terror. It puts our troops, even outside the Middle East, in extreme danger.

    So, do you believe that as a matter of policy, the U.S. is as bad as Hitler or Saddam Hussein? Or do you support the troops? You can’t have it both ways.

    My final comment, which suggested isolationist foreign policy, is presented to offer some perpective. Public opinion wants us (U.S. military) to help those who need it (Lebanon, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Sudan), yet does not have the stomach for what it takes to accomplish the mission. So we get involved just enough to F things all up, then leave, so the Dictator of the day can have his way with those who oppose him. Ironically, as an argument against Iraq, they say we SHOULD be in Iran or North Korea, when they have no intention of fighting a battle there either! So it seems the only acceptable alternative to keep every one happy is to say F the world, secure our borders, and let shit happen.
    Understand?

  33. markus says:

    Ok, thanks.
    First off, I am fairly certain that Durbin did not accuse the integrity of men and woman in uniform (apart from the usual bad apples, who – we agree – can and must be criticised as individuals). I’m unlikely to persuade you on this, so I’ll just ask you to stay away from the matter for a while, and then re-read Durbins words in their entirety without having it surrounded by any outside interpretation. I think you will find, that an attack on the military is not there in his words, but can of course be interpreted into them, if one pressumes certain things about the speaker. It’s perfectly fine by me if you want to do that (not that you need my consent ;), but then we could AFA I’m concerned easily agree to disagree on the interpretation. (FWIW, check out von’s reasoning which I found very clear).
    Next, we obviously disagree on our interpretation of Abu Gharib in that I do not believe we’re talking about isolated incidents. From where I’m standing, it appears that pretty much the same stuff happened in several detention facilities, and that it’s related to decisions made at higher levels. That is to say, standards were relaxed without providing clear guidance for what the new standards are, and no evaluation process appears to exist which would check the efficiency of the new measures and whether they were applied as intended. That is first and foremost a failure of policy.
    As far as the military itself is concerned, I think there’s two seperate things happening. For one, the aforementioned uncertainty made it possible that some “bad apples” went about their business unchecked or checked too late. Second, I believe some soldiers and agents who are very decent folks did cross lines that should not have been crossed because they were uncertain what the new policy was and they were under pressure to produce results. I don’t know if I’m getting across what I mean, perhaps an analogy will help: most parents are good parents. Some parents are bad parents. And some good parents occassionaly do bad things for a wide range of reasons, but that doesn’t make them bad parents.
    Concerning those detained, I am under the impression that you did not fully take in the facts I mentioned above. Perhaps this account of a taxi driver who died at Bagram will convince you, that some of the victims (for percentage see my last post) are not there for a reason and did not take up arms against the US.
    And even those that did take up arms IMO deserve a trial or tribunal once they are no longer an immediate threat. And they deserve to be treated as we would want our soldiers to be treated and in accordance with the Geneva conventions. I’m willing to consider modifications of normal GC expectations because of the special case they represent, in that they do not belong to any army. Still, mistreating them is wrong.

    As far as foreign policy is concerned, I believe it is the current President’s misguided policy which is lowering America’s status (heck, if we’re talking about “the world”, I know that), which undermines the war on terror and puts troops in danger. The same would logically apply to those enabling him to continue this policy, but to be frank I have no interest in going there. Democracy and free speech and all that, and it really doesn’t further the debate if each side claims, that the mere fact that the other side is voicing its disagreement is a bad and dangerous thing.
    I and Dick Durbin (:-)) do believe the US is far better than Hitler and Saddam and we both support the US armed forces. Dick Durbin said so before, on the senate floor I did just now.

    On the final point I still don’t quite follow you. I’ll try to go along and paraphrase, and you can correct me if I got it wrong, ok?
    I agree the public in general both wants intervention and a miraculously clean war, the latter being unrealistic/impossible. As far as the correct time for leaving is concerned, I believe in the Powell doctrine of not going in without a good exit strategy. I also agree that politicans should be more open with the public about what can and can’t be done with the military. There is AFAIK no way to guarantee that intervention won’t be followed by dictaorship or civil war, though there are some thing to be done which decrease that likelihood (and some things to be avoided so as not to increase it).
    Pointing to Iran, NK and Saudi Arabia as an alternative to Iraq was an objection raised (IIRC) in response to the claim that Iraq was central to the war on terror and/or to keeping America save. For the WOT Saudia Arabia continues to be the top target, for keeping American save by controlling nuclear weapons Iran and Nk are the top targets. In so far as the argument was in response to the specific claim that Iraq is the most important target, those making it can very well still oppose a war against any of the four countries. Their position would then simply be “I’m not convinced it is necessary and/or effective, but if you are, please chose the right target”. So by pointing to I,NK, SA, they are not necessarily saying that the US should attack those countries. And from there we can have the usual debate on whether (a) a country is a threat and (b) whether that threat is best met by invasion, without anyone having held a contradictory position so far. And of course disagreeing on A or B in a particular case at a particular time in no way means that one can not have another opinion about A or B about a different place or the same place at a different time. For instance, when it became evident that the inspectors did not find any WMD, my position on the Iraq war changed.

    As far as what should be done, I think it’s best to just relate my position. I’m in favour of humanitarian intervention, provided they can be done quick and muscular and there is a clear exist strategy.
    I’m of course in favour of defensive war and support aggressive war under a series of preconditions, though obviously some corner or other will likely have to be cut in any concrete case. There must be a good reason and all sides should be heared. It should be last resort. The goal must be clear and fully transparent, and once it is achieved, the war is over and the troops go home. The war must conform to international law except in emergencies. In all other cases, international law needs to be modified first (basically the self defense exception). Uhm yeah, probably forgot something, but that’s about it.

  34. LJD says:

    Markus:

    You present yourself as an intelligent and thoughtful person. I do, however still disagree on some points. I’ll try to be brief.

    Durbin’s comments are typical of the “Bush Bashing” left. While his exact words may not explicity say certain things, many are implied. There is no doubt in my mind that he was comparing our troops to the SS. The bold truth of the matter, is that even the worst complaints against us, the worst behavior by the baddest apples, does not come anywhere close to the comparison made. This is where the B.S. stops and reality begins. The Hitler/VietNam comparisons have grown tired, and have no positive influence on our country’s future. Perhaps if Durbin had your dimplomatic approach to problem solving.

    My next point: war is not crystal clear, it is cloudy as hell. Unprecedented media on the battlefield gives us some information, but not always the whole picture. Unfortunately, the whole picture, fabricated or not, sell papers. Most of the time, we get only one facet of the story. The “popular” angle is for that news to be negative towards the U.S. and the President. By association, it poorly reflects our military. Tragic, considering all of the good we do in the world, and at a very high price.

    On the detainees, perhaps I am cold, but I don’t give a rat’s ass about them. We are at war. They ARE there for a reason. I am aware of the Bagram cab driver. He was not at Abu Ghraib or GITMO. Nowhere have I heard or seen the President or his administration direct or condone the mistreatment of prisoners. In fact, the opposite is true.

    The Powell doctrine sounds great on paper, but war being what it is, you can never fully plan for every contingency. Shit happens. We have to be prepared for every eventuality, and then adjust and adapt, and stay the course to meet the mission. It all comes down to the mission. Public opinion is no way to run a war, or a country. That’s why we have representative government, to make the decisions the mobs are incapable of.

    The idea that Democrats would suggest attacking Iran or North Korea are typical of the stupid rhetoric and hypotheticals, used only to distract from the reall issue at hand. Sure they are perhaps greater threats. But each threat must be dealt with differently. One size does not fit all. Diplomacy is still an option in those countries, where Iraq had clearly failed. The people were starving; International corruption was profiting from the suffering of the Iraqis; The U.N. was made impotent by the influence of an evil dictator. Every intelligence source highlighted Saddam’s thirst for WMDs, lack of cooperation with inspections, and repeated vioaltions of sanctions. Very serious implications for the security of the world, indeed. Also, Iraq HAS proven to be an integral part of the War on Terror. Again, people here choose to belive what they want, but there is no doubt that Iraq is the front line in the fight against Muslim Extremists, the basis for Al Qaeda and similar terror groups. I say fight them there rather than here.

    My personal belief is that we absolutely should fight tyranny wherever it exists. I have peered into a mass grave, its occupants line up and machine-gunned for their beliefs. It goes against everything our country stands for. Those questioning GITMO should apply equal zeal to these questions. The responsibility of being the big kid on the block is to support what is right. Sadly, some of our citizens have become indifferent to the nightly news. They are only concerned with their own welfare. AS a soldier, it is very disheartening to stand for what you know is right, only to be criticized by those you protect. In general, the left is totally clueless about the dangers in the world.

    It has been great conversing with you. Perhaps we’ll agree to disagree. Again, I acknowledge some sensitivity to comments, because I take it personally. They affect me and my friends in Iraq. Free speech is a wonderful thing, when used responsibly. You can say what you want, but there are always repercussions. Durbin should have rephrased his meaning, apologized for any offense. Instead, he stuck to his guns at any cost. What an asshole. He does not have what it takes to represent the American people.

  35. Steve Verdon says:

    So, you’re saying that being chained to the floor in a fetal position without food or water for 18-24 hours while being subjected to excessive heat or cold and loud music it not “bad treatment”?

    Nice strawman, can you put on a puppet show with it too? I didn’t write anything saying it wasn’t bad treatment. Is it something brutal and horrific I’d expect from the likes of some of the most horrendous mass murdering regimes? No, not even close.